Putting a team together is like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together. While all the pieces are there and they each go together perfectly, you just have to have the patience and time that at the end, it becomes picture perfect.
When I asked Shannon Alvarado, the head coach of the McKinney North Lady Bulldogs volleyball team, who their biggest road block to success was going to be in District 13-4A play, which begins this week, her response said a lot.
“Ourselves," Alvarado said after North's five-set loss to North Mesquite on Tuesday night. "I think that we could sit and strategize about other teams all day long, but at the end of the day if we don’t want to play together and get it done together, it doesn’t matter who were playing. We’ll continue to be our biggest roadblock.”
With District 13-4A play starting this upcoming Friday night, a hodgepodge of students, parents, teachers, and fans watched the Lady Bulldogs fight hard against the North Mesquite Lady Stallions late Tuesday night in the team’s final tune-up game. Unfortunately, North added a loss to their record, dropping them to 9-12 overall. The Lady Bulldogs lost the first two games 25-27 and 23-25, came back in the next two with scores resulting in 26-24, 25-12, but then lost the last set 7-15.
Alvarado said her team committed 60 errors in the loss. But there were bright spots. Viona Vraniqi was the kill leader for the Lady Bulldogs with 14 while Abby Middleton lead in assist with 25. Lexey Wilson contributed 25 digs for the match and Darby MacLea chipped in 12 in the defensive efforts of the team.
With the team’s first district game coming up against Greenville on Friday, Alvarado has a few areas she would like to work on in the next few days.
“We need some solid leadership," she said. "I don’t think we played well enough to showcase what we're made of completely, but this year has been about pride and I don’t know if we displayed that when we first started this match. We showed our pride as far as fighting it out, but there’s a difference between that and showing up on the court ready to take care of business.”
With Lovejoy, Royse City, Wylie, Wylie East, Sherman, Denison, and Greenville as the district competition this season, the McKinney North Volleyball team knows they have a challenging road ahead of them.
“I think they are a hard working group of kids. We just need to figure out how to put all the pieces together more often,” said Alvarado. “We have this piece tonight, but where are the other five? Or we have these five and the other piece is missing.
“We’ve got to get them all together at one time.”
Editor's Note: MHS and Boyd were also in action Tuesday night. To see TSB's Volleyball Scoreboard, please browse our sports section or click right here.